Digital wallets can make Black Friday shopping easier and safer - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Digital wallets can make Black Friday shopping easier and safer

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With Black Friday two weeks away, you may be already thinking of the long lines and potential fraud by swiping your credit card at various stores. Digital wallets aren’t necessarily a new thing, but they can help make checkout faster and safer for you.

When you shop at a merchant, some digital wallets like Android Pay doesn’t send your actual credit or debit card number with your payment. Instead they use a virtual account number to represent your account information — so your card details stay safe. This virtual number will show on receipts and also in the store's system. So if a data breach occurred like at Target in 2013, hackers would have that fake account information.

As soon as you make a purchase, you’ll see a payment confirmation that shows you exactly where a given transaction happened, along with the merchant’s name and number. So it’s easy to catch any suspicious activity.

Right now, having a digital wallet on your phone does not mean you can totally give up carrying plastic cards. You still have to find a merchant equipped with the near field communication, or NFC, technology, and many merchants aren’t there yet. But many banks and mobile phone carriers like Apple and Android are advancing with new apps to get more of their customers using digital wallets.

“I think it’s safer to use the phone version of it because you have control over it," said Justin Gray, General Manager at iFix Mobile Solutions & Electronics. "You can unlock it, you can use your finger print, you can use temporary cards versus using an actual physical card.”

Mobile payments offer many advantages, such as: increased security against credit card fraud; makes record keeping easier; and quick and easy, on-the-go payments that can help you get through those holiday checkout lines—whether you are in a store or shopping online.

Gray an avid user of digital wallet apps. He said contrary to what you may think, digital wallets are pretty safe. Your information can only be taken if your phone is unlocked. When it’s locked, it will say “tap not accepted”. Once unlocked… the payment will go through.

“It’s very easy to use, you just tap your phone and pay. You can set it use your finger print, if you have a phone that’s capable of doing finger print. You can use it do pin codes. I have mine set to a pin code because I don’t have a fingerprint sensor on mine. And if my phone is not unlocked, it can’t be paid.”

Digital wallets are also easy to setup. The wallet apps will help you a lot as well. They can hold information for majority of the cards in your actual wallet, like credit/debit cards of course, gift cards, and even store loyalty cards.

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